May 31st, 2012
05:17 AM ET

Church videos with harsh words for gays go viral online

By Richard Allen Greene and Dan Gilgoff, CNN

First it was a Christian pastor in North Carolina who told his congregation on Mother's Day that the way "to get rid of all the lesbians and queers" was to put them behind an electric fence and wait for them to die out.

That video went viral, fetching more than a million views on YouTube.

On Sunday, Pastor Curtis Knapp of Kansas preached that the government should kill homosexuals, in another videotaped sermon that drew lots of online attention.

"They won't, but they should," Knapp said, according to a recording of his sermon posted online.

Since that sermon, another church video with harsh words for gays has caught fire online. This one shows a young boy singing an anti-gay song while the congregation cheers him on in what appears to be a church in Indiana.

"I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong,” the boy sings near the pulpit of a church. “Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven."

As the boy repeats the line “Ain't no homos gonna make it to heaven," congregants from the pews rise and cheer.

The video, which was anonymously posted online and has received more than 300,000 views on YouTube, appears to show a service at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Indiana.

Calls to the church this week went to voicemail, with an automatic message saying the mailbox is full. But a message posted on the church’s website on Wednesday appears to address the controversy, offering no apology for the video.

“The Pastor and members of Apostolic Truth Tabernacle do not condone, teach, or practice hate of any person for any reason. We believe and hope that every person can find true Bible salvation and the mercy and grace of God in their lives,” the statement says.

“We are a strong advocate of the family unit according to the teachings and precepts found in the Holy Bible,” said the statement, which did not explicitly refer to the video or mention homosexuality. “We believe the Holy Bible is the Divinely-inspired Word of God and we will continue to uphold and preach that which is found in scripture.”

The viral videos have drawn criticism from gay and lesbian groups and their allies.

Charles Worley’s sermon at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, sparked a protest that drew more than 1,500 people last weekend.

In Kansas, Knapp's voicemail at the New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca was filled with messages saying "things you don't want your kids to hear," he told CNN affiliate KTKA.

An official with the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists issued a statement to CNN on Thursday saying that Knapp’s church had left the Southern Baptist fold in 2010.

“Obviously, he has taken a radical and unbiblical stand in regards to homosexuality,” said Tim Boyd, communications director for the convention.

“We look at homosexuals as we look at all sinners,” his statement said. “God loves them. Christ died for them. The Gospel calls them to repentance and salvation. Therefore, we as Christ-followers should hate the sin and love the sinner.”

But Knapp is not backing away from his comments.

"We punish pedophilia. We punish incest. We punish polygamy and various things. It's only homosexuality that is lifted out as an exemption," he said.

He cited the Biblical verse Leviticus 20:13: "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. They shall surely be put to death."

But he said gay people had nothing to worry about from the government or from him.

"I don't believe I should lay a finger against them," said Knapp, of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas. "My hope is for their salvation, not for their death."

Preaching against homosexuality the same day, another pastor appeared to wrestle with how conservative Christians should respond to proposals that people should literally mete out biblical punishments.

"What about this guy down in North Carolina said build a big prison, a big fence and put them all in there and let them die out?" Dennis Leatherman asked in a sermon at the Mountain Lake Independent Baptist Church in Maryland.

"Listen, I don't know that fellow. As far as I can tell, he seems like a decent guy, but he is dead wrong on that. That is not the scriptural response," Leatherman said in his sermon "Homosexuality & the Bible," according to a cached version of the transcript posted online.

The audio of the sermon does not appear on his church's website.

In the sermon, he floats the idea of killing homosexuals, whom he refers to as sodomites, then backs away from it.

"There is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea," Leatherman said.

"But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong," he added immediately.

The Southern Baptist Convention distanced itself from Worley's remarks.

The nation's largest Baptist group said Providence Road Baptist in Maiden is not affiliated with its 16 million-member denomination and condemned the comments.

But the influential head of the giant movement's seminary does argue that homosexuality "is the most pressing moral question of our times."

In a comment piece for the Belief Blog in the wake of Worley's sermon, R. Albert Mohler Jr. dismissed critics who say conservative Christians focus on homosexuality while ignoring other things the Bible prohibits.

He contends that laws about keeping kosher, for example, do not apply to Christians, while commandments about homosexuality do.

"When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible's teaching is consistent, pervasive, uniform and set within a larger context of law and Gospel," he wrote.

"Christians who are seriously committed to the authority of the Bible have no choice but to affirm all that the Bible teaches, including its condemnation of homosexuality," he said.

A member of Worley's 300-member church defended him in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"Of course he would never want that to be done," Stacey Pritchard said of the proposal to put homosexuals behind a fence and leave them there to die out. "But I agree with what the sermon was and what it was about."

CNN Belief Blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Homosexuality

soundoff (4,073 Responses)
  1. TonyInNYC

    So, he's saying "I don't believe I should murder them. Other people should murder them for me." An interesting definition of "New Hope" indeed.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • onceacpa

      That is exactly what he is saying. I have to wonder what Jesus would say about this?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Barn

      He's also saying "I really want to murder them, but only my faith in this one book is keeping me from doing so."

      Let's hope that faith never waivers!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  2. Trini-Joe

    Protests over anti-gays from anti-straights is all we have here.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • sam stone


      May 31, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Dorothy

      LOL....the lady with the two children and a husband at the protest were anti-straight? Wow....and here I though Jesus healed the blind....guess not.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Danny

      God-Jesus invented the blind

      May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  3. Dorothy

    Gosh....did we learn nothing from 911? Zealotry (Muslim or Christian) leads only to death and destruction and therefore by definition their message should never be confused as having come from God. The Ugliness of their message should make it evident that those who are anti- gay are preaching the message of the devil. How sad.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • WOW

      @Dorthy: Who or what is God to you?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  4. Mrs. Katz

    The Bible has been used as a bludgeon by haters for centuries.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  5. albie

    Perfect example of why there is a huge backlash against christians - might be time to bring the lions back

    May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Bob Thomas

      I am amazed at your tolerant open-mindedness...and your own brand of politically correct bigotry. Hypocrite.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  6. SMH

    You should never take what you like and ignore what you don't in any book. It skews the entirety of it. To me it does not matter if you believe people are born gay or choose it as a lifestyle, you should not persecute them. Every person on this planet sins every day of their life. To say one is worse than the others is not accurate. We can be forgiven for all of them. Just silly.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  7. Mrs. Katz

    This pastor ought to be calling for the death of gluttons and those who consume shellfish as well, since it is written in the Bible.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Roy

      I'll leave that to the Orthodox crazies in Izzyrael.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Primewonk

      I like to combine those sins and consume màss quantîties of bacon-wrapped shrimp.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • WOW

      @Prim: I like bacon so I want bacon only please.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • onceacpa

      Very true. This guy is just a fruitcake..hmmm...no pun intended. Truly, I think he may be gay himself but just can't accept it that he is. Otherwise why get in such a "huff" about it?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  8. Steve

    Fundies of any stripe - be they right-wing religious or left-wing secular - are strange creatures.

    That being said, the man's got stones.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  9. Mrs. Katz

    Hate is quite Christian, in actuality.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • CCC

      She's quite right. Read the Old Testament. Read the New Testament....then decide what is right and wrong.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Kevin Harrington

      Hate is quite human actually.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • onceacpa

      @Kevin that is why religion is used ...to express hate. Its a facade and an excuse...

      May 31, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  10. Bill

    Folks don't listen to these false prophets as they have nothing to do with Christianity, which teaches love, grace and mercy. All these right wing nut jobs are trying to do is promote the GOP message of hate and fear during an election year. These conservative GOP folks are as religious as the Taliban.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • onceacpa

      Somewhat similar actually. It that doesn't bother the average citizen in this country it should.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Bob Thomas

      So I guess we should embrace child molesters, thieves, murders, liars...oh yes...love love love...grace...grace.grace. How stupid you sound. Love and grace and forgiveness do not become a license to commit evil deeds. And by the way...you can hate the deed without hating the person. Why don't you think a bit before you post.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • onceacpa

      Bob, preaching love and acceptance is just that. It doesn't mean deeds should be excused. It does mean that hatred shouldn't be used as an excuse to persecute others.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  11. Portland tony

    Same story, same commenters, same pro, same con!

    May 31, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Bob, The Amazing Dragon-Riding Unicorn-Herding Wonder Leprechaun!!!

      Ever notice that religious people are more concerned with what they hate than what they like?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  12. Fifi

    He doesn't believe the government will kill all gays, as he wont either...but he put the word out for others to do so.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • onceacpa

      You are correct about that. That is their goal.

      And Wasp you are correct. When a minister preaches behind a pulpit, he may be preaching hell or salvation. If his sermons are full of hate and bigotry I believe you should be concerned as that is not the christian way (=preaching hell). If he preaches acceptance, caring and salvation then I believe you have a good one and one worthy of listening too.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  13. Jon in Rochester

    These so called men of God are no better than the Taliban. How do they feel about the stoning of adulterers?

    May 31, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • marragor

      Your're right. And wondering how many of them are gay themselves...

      May 31, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • onceacpa

      It is my firm belief that those preaching hatred toward gays are probably one themselves. Ones that were raised in such a narrow minded environment that they can not accept the fact that they are gay and are full of loathing and hate for themselves due to this. It is easier for them to externalize this hatred then accept they are themselves gay.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  14. erik

    Same mistakes being made over and over again still. I was born and raised a catholic my whole life. Now I see why we have been persecuted and killed over the ages. I am beginning to feel like we are as bad as Muslims and other faiths that kill their own. Seems like religion is a tool of hate and no religion will allow peace anywhere ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Zack

      It is bad to lump everyone in a statement like that.. all muslims... all catholics... all anything.. please don't do that...

      May 31, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • onceacpa

      You have it right there Erik. Religion is behind most of the evil in this world. That and limited resources are the two reasons man have gone to war over the millennium.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  15. AZ Wildcat

    This is further proof that the medieval voodoo that is religion needs to be banned for good.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • albie

      agreed - first step would be to heavily tax churches

      May 31, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  16. Mark

    LIke my folks always said. You can't fix stupid ...

    May 31, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • onceacpa

      laughs, and you can't argue with them either :). Good comment Mark

      May 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  17. Colin Morgan

    Everybody cut Footloose. OOHHHH OOOOHHH CUT....FOOT LOOSE.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  18. Narendra Sethia

    My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Leviticus 24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws?
    (Leviticus 20:14)

    May 31, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Larry L

      Wonderful comment! Thanks.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • wimanf

      @PRIMEWONK: Can scientifically prove that this Law is wrong, "Two elements with the same polarity repel each." ? Instead of blowing black smoke, prove that this law is wrong.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • JohnQuest

      wimanf, are you really comparing the electromagnetic force to human personal desires and will? You really think that is a good and fair analogy?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • WOW

      @John: You are correct that is not a good comparison but it still is a Sin.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:48 am |
  19. wimanf

    The Laws of physics and Chemistry state that, "Two elements with the same polarity repel each." So should man with man and female with female. It's a violation of nature's law to be attracted to the same gender.

    May 31, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • WASP

      @wim: ok you are taking two seperate fields of science to validate your dislike for gays? one you state deals with the world of magnetism and sub-atomic particules, the other is dealing with biology and animal behaviour.............so i'm guessing you are a very confused person. don't worry there is help for you. lol i hope.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • sam stone

      Yet straight people continue to give birth to them.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • JohnQuest

      wimanf, its against natures law to do harm to ones self, but many, drink, smoke, do drugs, jump out of airplanes for fun, go to war, kill each other and so forth.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Vanessa

      wi dear, leave daddy's computer alone and go back to your homework.. or you're grounded without ice cream.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by "wimanf" is an instance of a False Analogy fallacy and concludes with a statement essentially consisting of Willed Ignorance.


      May 31, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • wimanf

      Face the truth folks. It's unnatural to be attracted to the same gender. unreasonable animals do not do such a detestable thing. Nature itself condemns it. Therefore, nature condemns you too if you are one with reversed senses, meaning if you are LGBT.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Primewonk

      Why do people who purposefully choose to be ignorant about science come onto internet message boards and demonstrate that ignorance for all to see?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • WASP

      Face the truth folks. It's unnatural to be attracted to the same gender. unreasonable animals do not do such a detestable thing. Nature itself condemns it. Therefore, nature condemns you too if you are one with reversed senses, meaning if you are LGBT."

      you poor sad diluted person. you have a logic flaw and don't even see it. the samething is said by the religious " god condemns gays" you say " nature condemns gays"
      here is your major flaw along with theirs...............if nature/god condemns gays, then why would nature/god create them? hmmmm

      May 31, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • JohnQuest

      wimanf, do yourself a favor and look up hom-ose-xuality in animals before your next comment. I could tell you that there are over 1200 spe-cies of animals that engage in ho-mos-exual activities but you won't believe me, so go and look it up for yourself.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • YeahRight

      "It's unnatural to be attracted to the same gender. unreasonable animals do not do such a detestable thing. Nature itself condemns it."

      That's why homosexuality has been documented in over 1500 other species. Heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in this country to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Primewonk

      The 1500+ species of mammals, fish, birds, insects, etc., who exhibit hômosèxuality all call you a liar.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Larry L

      Science from the folks who believe the Earth to be less than 6000 years old? Nobody is trying to refute your "scientific" question because it's not logic-based. I remember a racist in the 60s explaining to me that segregation was God's way – proven because black birds and white birds didn't live together. He too was an ignorant hick.

      The physical sciences usually do not explain hate and bigotry well. However, since most of this problem comes from the deep South genetics may provide the answer. Were your mom and dad brother and sister?

      May 31, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • sam stone

      "It's unnatural to be attracted to the same gender"

      Not for everyone.

      Just as being left handed is not natural for everyone.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • wimanf

      Those who are attracted to the same gender are enemies of nature for they cannot reproduce. Nature itself would suffer greatly due to the impact of this detestable life style. This is an indication that it's wrong to be attracted to the same gender. if every man and every woman were to be attracted and live with the same gender, our society would be wiped out for man living with another man cannot replenish the earth. So do women with women. Please do not destroy the earth!

      May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Jen

      Luckily there are seven BILLION people on the planet so we are not going extinct anytime soon. Considering gays make up one percent of the population we should be okay. What is with the argument that we would go extinct? Because if we allow gays to marry everyone else will be forced to be gay too? Ridiculous!

      May 31, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Jen

      In fact I wish more people were gay. We need some population control on this planet.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • wimanf

      @Jen: Gays bring curses to a society and that is the main reason why in all cultures and societies people see them as a virus that can wipe out their society just Sodom and Gomorrah. People learned from history and especially from Sodom and Gomorrah.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Jen

      Actually all the gay people I know have brought joy and friendship to my life. Your book of fables is meaningless. It says as a woman I am property. If you agree with the parts about Sodom you also agree with women being lesser then men. And if you agree with that you are an idi0t, plain and simple!

      May 31, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Barn

      Luckily, your EXTREME misapplication of unrelated scientific concepts doesn't make it true. By your logic, two water molecules, identical in every way, shouldn't be able to sit next to one another in a glass, either, yet I can fill it with BILLIONS of identical atoms and not one has any problem with it.

      Please do not misapply science to make ignorant, bigoted statements. It only makes you look ignorant and bigoted...and bad at science.

      May 31, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  20. WASP

    interesting question i just read" how is a catholic know their priest is right with god"?

    i grew up in north carolina and attended, much to my disagreement, a southern baptist church. Over the course of a few years new people moved into the area and started attending our church. the preacher was the whole fire and brimstone type; women shouldn't wear males clothing, drinking and smoking were sins, etc etc etc. as the congregation changed with the new influx of people they disliked what the preacher was saying, women wanted to wear shorts to sermons and the smokers didn't like being told they were wrong........................so guess what they did?

    THEY FIRED HIM. lmfao and got themselves a new younger preacher that preached of equality between males and females, said if you sinned you need only pray to god and he would forgive you, etc etc etc. so back to the interesting question; how do you know for 100% certainty that your preacher, priest, rabbi, imam is truly leading you to salvation and not hell? what do these religious leaders have that we as humans don't? do they have a direct line to their so called "god" that makes them special? i doubt it. so all you religious folks take a minute and truly think about this question.....how do you know that your religious leader isn't leading you astray? if they can be fired and highered like any employee, how can you truly know.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • catholic engineer

      WASP, I think such uncertainty is the price we pay for being human. Even Sirach 15:14-17 says as much:

      "When, in the beginning, the Lord created human beings, he left them free to do as they wished. If you want to, you can keep the Lord's commands. You can decide whether you will be loyal to him or not. He has placed fire and water before you; reach out and take whichever you want. You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose."

      May 31, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • WASP

      @catholic: "You have a choice between life and death; you will get whichever you choose."
      ummmm no you don't, you don't have control over being born nor do you have control over when you die.......unless you end your own life.
      we either have chaos which is free will to make our own destinies, or we have order which is a predestinied destiny; you can't have it both ways. chaos and order don't make good bed fellows.

      May 31, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • dave

      God can and will not be fired. God has to continually deal with man's failures not his. to this arguement of weather the old teastament or new teastament is right wrong or otherwise? this is it....the Bilble is Gods way of showing mans failures and how God has had to deal with an ever consistant sinning and failing man. beacuse thru the centuries man has always decided that his ways were logical and "seemed" right when in fact had he listened and heeded Gods word in the first place he would have been right with the world that God created. much the same as i hear all of you say here as well......much of your own opinions backed by "portions" or scripture taken out of context, and twisted to fit your wrong opinion. pastor or not, men make mistakes. God has to deal with that because He is perfect. Gods word is also perfect because it is God. His word says "the Word became flesh" meaning that in one mans life God indwelled and allowed that man to be perfect as well. and in His sacrifice all sin and debt was paid. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ never said these things that you all here are.......He did though come to back the Word of God with His own life, because he was the Word and He was God. You cant argue with Him.

      May 31, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.